Women’s Aid: 'Look At Me' interactive billboard


World-first visually powered interactive billboard campaign targets domestic violence.

The thinking behind the attention-grabbing ‘Look at me’ interactive billboard in London reflects the messaging it aims to get across to the public.

As part of a Women’s Aid campaign to ‘open our eyes’ to the fact one quarter of women are affected by domestic violence, the interactive billboard uses innovative facial recognition and gaze tracking technology to detect when people stop and look at the screen.

When they do, the woman’s beaten and bruised face begins to heal. Swelling subsides, bruising disappears. The more people stop and look, the more the woman’s face returns to a healthy state.

The campaign aims to show that we can all help end domestic violence just by taking notice of the issue, rather than ‘turning a blind eye’.

The WCRS campaign has won more than 20 awards, including gold at Cannes.

Hit play and see for yourself.


Campaign Catalogue


Interactive Billboards


Advertising Agency:


All of us at Hard Edge have been inspired to focus our future on helping brands and organisations make the world a better place through thinking and creative that shifts behaviour and positively impacts society.

If that sounds like you, we'd love to help.  
Want to chat? 
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Bridging the behaviour gaps on our roads


Are we failing to keep up with a fast-paced, ever changing world with disjointed, unrealistic expectations of human behaviour? The rate of progression and innovation has never been greater. With that comes education gaps in how things work, what’s expected of us, and what our behaviours should be to live in safety and harmony as members of society.

While innovation attempts to improve our lives, it can come with frustrations and risks. With great new options at our fingertips can also come distraction, annoyance and impatience. With the roads filled with driver assist technologies, and automated vehicle technology looming, it is a melting pot for driver behaviour. We are at a dangerous crossroad of handing control of the driving task to the vehicle rather than being in control ourselves. The evidence base for distracted driving has failed to keep up with technological developments, according to Future of Transport Head of Impairment Research, Dr Paul Jackson, and Head of Behavioural Science, Dr Neale Kinnear. I couldn’t agree more.

Operating on auto-pilot

As we move towards higher levels of autonomy in vehicles, there are too many assumptions about the fidelity and safety of autonomous features without education and experience in operating these vehicles. We’ve all heard the story of the driver who switched on cruise control in their motor home and went and made a cup of coffee. Yes, it drove off the road. Okay, so slightly humorous in retrospect and a little stupid perhaps, but this kind of ‘auto-pilot’ driving, in this day and age, can mean literally that. Learning a new app on our phones is very different to learning our vehicle’s operating features as the complexity of driving and the potential risks still remain.

Re:act is a student road safety initiative of our agency in collaboration with universities. The Re:act topic for last year was safety around trucks. As the students (who clearly hadn’t thought much about this topic in their daily lives) reported, there is only one question in the learner’s handbook on this topic and a 6% chance of being tested on it. According to Ben Maguire, CEO of the Australian Trucking Association, the freight task in Australia will increase by 52% by 2036. There is also billions of dollars worth of transport infrastructure occurring over the next decade. The Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel build alone will add a truck and trailer to Melbourne’s CBD traffic every 3 minutes for 5½ years. Are we preparing our youth, the future on the roads, to be equipped for it?

A tribal or sharing mindset?

In recent years, I have noticed how complex it is to instil a “shared systems” mindset on our roads. We are all a pedestrian, often a driver, and sometimes a cyclist. As we move from one to another, an understanding of the other is often quickly forgotten and our behaviours as a driver do not fit that of the cyclist we were just moments ago. Road user groups can be tribal and when we shift modes so does our focus and allegiance. Just recently, researchers at three Australian universities examined traffic psychology and behaviour and found that around half of non-cyclists viewed cyclists as “less than fully human”, with some admitting to purposely having driven close to cyclists. Scary isn’t it? We conducted research last year with focus groups of young people who viewed truck drivers on the road as tough and scary, but when the context is changed to a social setting such as a barbecue, they are perceived very differently: as friendly, down-to-earth blokes.

So many things contribute to this thinking. While road safety education is about respect and sharing the road, what we observe from our parents, friends, and others on the roads is of great influence. Then there’s us. We have so much going on in our lives today. We must be at point B as fast as possible, not allowing that extra car to merge, being first off at the lights, and taking risks for no gain other than some ill-founded sense of progression inside. We must always be contactable and in communication with others. Our personal bubble is more pronounced than ever.

A melting pot

While I have raised two separate points in this article – innovation and education, and perceptions and shared systems – it has been to highlight that, more than ever, our roads are a melting pot of innovation, education gaps, and a tribal mentality. When you consider them all, it becomes apparent how mammoth a task instilling a shared responsibility on our roads is. There are many passionate road safety professionals doing their bit to make us safer but, at the end of the day, it’s up to us as individuals. We all have a role to play.

With this year’s Re:act topic focusing on defining a simple “shared system” message to vulnerable road users and drivers, I hope our youth can help unravel the mystery of making that message stick when behind the wheel, on a bike, or crossing the road, to help make our roads safer. Their increased awareness will have a ripple effect among their own personal networks, which is one small step towards the greater good. As Re:act grows, I hope this ripple can grow to have a tangible impact on our challenges and behaviours on a much broader scale.

All of us at Hard Edge have been inspired to focus our future on helping brands and organisations make the world a better place through thinking and creative that shifts behaviour and positively impacts society.

Email or call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

‘Having an impact, without impact’: virtual billboard changes behaviour on our roads.


It’s pretty hard for a campaign to grab my attention these days. But this interactive road safety billboard from Paris really caught my eye (and certainly got the attention of the target audience).

The interactive billboard aims to make careless pedestrians realise the dangers of their behaviour. The smart billboard – equipped with a motion detector, speaker and cameras – mimics the sound of screeching tyres when a pedestrian crosses the road while the ‘little red man’ is illuminated. The frightened faces of these pedestrians are then instantly projected directly onto the billboard alongside the caption: ‘Don’t risk looking death in the face. Respect traffic lights before crossing the road.’ 

A brilliant campaign and perfect execution. Hit play and see for yourself.


Campaign Posters


Interactive Billboards


Advertising Agency:
Serviceplane France 


All of us at Hard Edge have been inspired to focus our future on helping brands and organisations make the world a better place through thinking and creative that shifts behaviour and positively impacts society.

If that sounds like you, we'd love to help.  
Want to chat? 
Email or call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

Four steps to shifting behaviour for good (and for better)


There are many ways success is measured – and investment justified – in the marketing world. How do we know our (client’s) money has been well spent and we can all pat ourselves on the back at the end of a campaign or project? Audience reach, engagement, increased awareness, sales, share, and so on.

When it comes to behaviour change initiatives, similar measures can be relevant. But there is one measure that transcends simple campaign metrics and is the ultimate test of success in behaviour change initiatives. I’m talking about social acceptability, or unacceptability – the point when a certain behaviour change initiative reaches a tipping point and becomes largely self-policed by society. Consider driving without a seatbelt, not picking up after your dog, smoking while pregnant, littering. Once commonplace, these behaviours have since reached a point of social unacceptability through various behaviour change methods, programs, tools and campaigns. Nowadays, anyone caught in the act of any of these behaviours can expect anything ranging from serious ‘stink eye’ to a public scolding, even the wrath of law enforcement.

Effective behaviour change initiatives are no simple task and rarely, if ever, a quick win. Our behaviours are usually habitual and deeply ingrained, shaped by our family and friends, social norms and culture, among other things.

So how do we go about achieving this holy grail of behaviour change success? What are the steps involved? What can we achieve as a creative industry? And where do we need to leverage the strengths of other industries, organisations and parties?

There are many behaviour change theories and methodologies out there. We boil our recipe for behaviour change success down to four steps: Educate. Motivate. Facilitate. Sustain.


If we want people to change their behaviour around a particular issue, they obviously need to be aware of that issue. But more than awareness, they need an accurate understanding of the issue and the correct behaviours they should be displaying. We all know we should be recycling, and broadly the reasons why. But do we understand how to recycle correctly? Which waste goes where? What happens once it leaves our kerb? What impact it has on the environment? Education is a vital step in ensuring we are not just aware of the issue but genuinely understand what we should be doing, how we should be doing it, and the reasons why.  


Once the audience know what they should be doing, and why and how they should be doing it, we need to motivate them to shift their behaviour accordingly. This is about building a genuine desire to address the issue and a willingness to change the way they behave that is strong enough to overcome barriers to change. Strategy and creativity play a big part here as we need to connect with the audience on an emotive level to drive them to want to take action. This requires an intimate understanding of the target audience, their drivers and their pain points; not just in relation to the particular behaviour we are trying to change, but generally.


Facilitating behaviour change is all about removing barriers – actual or perceived – to change and making it as easy as possible for us to change our behaviour in the moments and environments that matter. These barriers can be as simple as forgetting what you’re meant to be doing, or not doing. Think about when you’re driving on the freeway and your speed creeps up over the limit; the alert most modern cars give is a prime example of a tool to facilitate immediate behaviour change through prompting. Prompts and alerts can be found on food packaging, through health star ratings for example, to ensure we’re reminded (and in some cases educated) about whether what we are putting in the trolley is helping or hindering our dietary goals.

Cost is another potential barrier to behaviour change. People may understand why and how to change their behaviour and may have a genuine desire to do so but if it’s going to leave them financially worse off, that’s a massive barrier for most of us. I’m sure we all fully endorse the virtues of renewable energy and support an energy system that is renewable, secure and affordable. The education and motivation to switch to renewable energy is there. However, the cost of setting up and running a cost-efficient renewable energy system in our home can be a barrier to making the change. The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme was set up for this very reason; to provide a financial incentive for individuals, families and small businesses to install renewable energy systems, helping them overcome financial barriers and facilitating greater change to clean energy.


If it’s not sustained, achieving ‘one-off’ behaviour change is rarely a mark of success. Sustaining correct behaviours can be achieved in many ways, and is typically reliant on a number of different parties and organisations. From a campaign or program point of view, we can sustain behaviour change by continuing communication activities to motivate and facilitate behaviour change among the target audience. We can then look to industry-specific products and services relevant to particular behaviours to find ways of facilitating behaviour change (e.g. the speed limit or seatbelt alert in our cars). There’s the vital role of policy, legislation and enforcement. These have been a major driver in sustaining behaviour change in fields like road safety (speeding, drink driving and now mobile phone use) and will have an increasing role in sustaining behaviour change relating to sustainability and the natural environment as these issues become increasingly critical. And then, of course, there’s the enforcement of socially acceptable behaviours by our friends, family and communities. In most cases, this is not only the most powerful driver of behaviour change but the strongest indicator of success for behaviour change programs.

As our understanding of the world around us continues to grow, so too innovations increasingly provide new opportunities to make this understanding accessible to the masses. So while the world may at times seem like it’s a bit up the creek, we are in the best position we’ve ever been to leverage knowledge and innovation to affect behaviour change. By taking a human approach to gaining a deep understanding of the problems we need to solve, and building clear strategies that educate, motivate and facilitate sustained behaviour change, we can help make a better world and promising future.


All of us at Hard Edge have been inspired to focus our future on helping brands and organisations make the world a better place through thinking and creative that shifts behaviour and positively impacts society.

If that sounds like you, we'd love to help.  
Want to chat? 
Email or call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

A perfect fit: ATA and Hard Edge to engage young drivers with road safety.


We're proud to announce that The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has chosen to partner with Hard Edge to engage young drivers with the road safety messages of the Volvo ATA Safety Truck.

The Volvo ATA Safety Truck ‘experience’ will be updated with new messaging, branding and experiential ideas to ensure the travelling road safety exhibition connects with its young audience. And a targeted campaign will build awareness and a community around the truck and the road safety issues it combats.

The ATA is the peak body representing truck operators in Australia. They chose Hard Edge to work on the Safety Truck update following a selection process.

“Our current Safety Truck design has connected with the trucking industry and broader community since 2013, but it’s time for a change,” ATA CEO Ben Maguire said. 

“16 to 25 year old drivers and vulnerable road users are over-represented in the crash statistics, so we plan to target these drivers, riders and pedestrians with an attractive and evidence-based exhibition and campaign.

“The ATA was a partner on the 2018 Re:act road safety behaviour change program founded and run by Hard Edge. Re:act was a chance for us to gain insights into possible future directions for the Safety Truck and ensure this great resource is as effective as possible in educating young people about how to share the road safely with trucks.

“We went through a rigorous process in selecting the creative agency best-suited to complete the redesign. We were particularly inspired by Hard Edge’s road safety skills and understanding of how to inspire our target public.”

Hard Edge Managing Director Andrew Hardwick said the Volvo ATA Safety Truck campaign and re-design was a perfect fit for the independent agency, reflecting its passion for making a positive social contribution and expertise in behaviour change.

“Our purpose at Hard Edge is to help brands and organisations make the world a better place through thinking and creative that changes behaviour and positively impacts society,” he said. “The Safety Truck project aligns perfectly.”

The Volvo ATA Safety Truck, sponsored by Volvo, BP and NTI, educates the public on how to share the road safely with trucks and has been delivering safety exhibitions in the custom-built trailer since 2008, travelling 60,000km and reaching 33,000 people annually via truck shows, festivals and school visits.


Follow the links for more information on the Volvo ATA Safety Truck, Hard Edge or the Re:act behaviour change program.

For more information please contact Andrew Hardwick on 0417 334 399 or ahardwick@hardedge.com.au.


All of us at Hard Edge have been inspired to focus our future on helping brands and organisations make the world a better place through thinking and creative that shifts behaviour and positively impacts society.

If that sounds like you, we'd love to help.  
Want to chat? 
Email or call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

Design students inspire at Hard Edge with trucking fantastic road safety concepts.


April is always an exciting month on the Hard Edge calendar as another throng of Swinburne University of Technology communication design students descend on the agency to pitch their responses to the annual Re:act brief.

For the uninitiated, Re:act is a project where we give a real world campaign brief around a social issue to third year design students and challenge them to raise awareness and change behaviour among the 18-25 year old audience.

We’ve been running Re:act for three years in collaboration with Swinburne and with the support of a great group of industry partners who share our passion for road safety:  the TAC, RACV, Melbourne Metro Rail Authority, Transurban, the Australian Trucking Association, the National Road Safety Partnership Program and ARRB Group.

Every year we’re mightily impressed by the strategic thinking, creativity and professionalism of the students’ pitches. And what we saw earlier this week was no different – maybe even the best yet.    



This year’s Re:act brief focused on the safe interaction of 18-25 year old road users with trucks. With the number of trucks on our roads growing and major infrastructure projects like the Melbourne Metro Tunnel increasingly bringing heavy vehicles into our cities, we’ll all be interacting with trucks a lot more – whether in the car, on foot or on bike. The brief asked students to develop a campaign to educate the target audience on the risks of sharing the road with trucks and to positively influence their behaviour to reduce crashes and ‘near misses’ with trucks.  

After an initial briefing and Q&A, 10 groups of students developed and then pitched their campaigns to us at Hard Edge and our industry partners.

With an impressive range of concepts from all groups, choosing our finalists was no easy task.

“Size Matters” (Runners-up)

Meg Danaher, Ken Smith and Karl Rombauts highlighted the power of humour in achieving cut through and engagement with the target audience with their “Size Matters” campaign. Aside from presenting a great cheeky concept, the standard of design work, strategic thinking and the breadth and quality of activation ideas the team produced was seriously impressive. Remember their names – Meg, Ken and Karl – these guys are going places.   



“Don’t Truck Around” (Winners)

This year’s winning pitch drew on audience insights to deliver a hard-hitting call to action to 18-25 year old road users. Caitlin Preyser, Charlotte Hicks and Grace Kirby created a bold typographic visual concept, with a range of creative executions to communicate the risks of sharing the road with trucks and provide clear advice on how to stay safe around them. It was pretty trucking good. Congratulations Caitlin, Charlotte and Grace.

These are just two examples of the 10 great campaigns that were presented at Re:act 2018. Hats off and big props to all the students involved. It’s safe to say the future of our creative industry is in safe and very talented hands.




Hard Edge is a tight team of strategic thinkers, creatives and doers. We help brands discover their value and find their voice. Want to chat? Email or call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

Bistro Morgan — Doughnut prince, social media king


He has been dubbed the ‘Doughnut Prince of Melbourne’, and at the age of 16 has already been in business for two years.

Morgan Hipworth started his business, Bistro Morgan, at the age of 14, balancing school books with doughnut cooks. The business name derived from when Morgan, from the age of seven, would cook his parents a 3-course meal — they would call it Bistro Morgan.

Morgan began supplying cafes around Melbourne before opening a pop-up store that sold 10,000 doughnuts and then, in 2015, Morgan opened up ‘bricks and mortar’ in Windsor — all while juggling full-time school work.

This amazing young person is filled with ambition and passion for what he does, not to mention sheer commitment to achieving his dreams. A key element of his success is social media, with apps like Instagram making a significant contribution to his achievements (and reputation).


Authentic sharing

These delicious doughnuts are perfect eye-candy to be shared and spoken about. It’s a social media gold mine with Bistro Morgan’s Instagram page having 54.5K followers, and growing. This hype has taken young Morgan on a media journey, appearing in everything from Broadsheet and Vice to the widely-read Herald Sun, just to name a few. The technical term for this is earned media; the result is thousands of dollars’ worth of free advertising.


Morgan’s doughnuts have the power to cause serious ‘FOMO’, with thousands of posts being shared across Instagram and other social platforms. If brands can crack into this platform by posting sharable content, it can only be beneficial. This communal Instagram experience is a key strategy in creating hype behind a brand, particularly one centred around food. People will go out of their way to experience something they have seen their friends and followers doing.

Smart phones have made it incredibly easy to document our every move on social media. We are part of an ever-open and always-connected society where we share who we meet, the food we eat and the things we do on the weekend.

This has become common practice and Bistro Morgan’s doughnuts are a prime example, creating the perfect ‘Instagram-able moment’. This is something just about every businesses strives for — genuine recognition from genuine customers. Having authentic brand communication generated by the customer is the new way to be recognised.

Anyone fancy joining me for a Salted Caramel Tim Tam Syringe Doughnut? I’ll meet you there.


Images from: 

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
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Three essential design tips to build your brand


It’s no secret that carefully considered creative can elevate your brand.

Whether you’re a disruptive start-up or have been in business for 20+ years, design will always play an important role in ensuring your brand is seen, heard and even loved.

However there’s often a lot of jargon in this creative sphere — different file types, typographic terms, and can someone please explain the difference between a logotype and brandmark?

With all this confusion, we’ve pulled together our design team to give you three top tips for understanding your brand and taking it in the right direction.

Chloë's tip: Take a holistic approach

A common mistake I see small businesses make is thinking that creating a logo is where the design process ends.

Your brand is so much more than just a logo: it’s a set of values, an experience and a feeling that are all connected. Some of the most successful companies have created lovable brands by staying authentic, relevant and consistent through all their communication, internally and externally.

One way to break down your brand is to think of it as a person. Your brand’s identity (logo, typeface, colour palette) is the person’s outfit — is it loud, feminine, dark, minimal? Beyond looks, there’s a personality and set of values that they live by and your brand should have this too.

Amy's tip: File (and keep track of) your assets

So an agency has put together the perfect identity for your business and supplied you with several logo files and a brand book. These are your brand assets and you’re going to need them for everything you produce.

Having your assets up-to-date and easily accessible really helps with organisation and timings for projects. If you can give the designer everything they need, you’ll save time and money. If you need a little help, we recommend a program called Frontify.

Damo's Tip: Remain consistent

Now you’ve got your perfect identity and know exactly where that logo is filed, it’s time to put it all into practice. If there are multiple designers or agencies working on your brand, be sure it’s all consistent.

Consistency is key. If everything looks and feels coherent then your brand will resonate with your audience. When brand communications don’t align, you risk losing credibility.

Right from the start, design plays an important role in each stage of your brand’s evolution. Follow these three design tips and you’ll be well on your way to building a brand that stands the test of time.


Images: Optus Rebrand by Re. Illustration by Resolution.

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
To learn more email or
call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

Strategic influence: The potential and the pitfalls of influencer marketing


Brands of all shapes and sizes are coming to terms with how powerful influencer marketing can be. Tune into your Snapchat story or take a scroll through Instagram and you’ll soon see a list of celebrities and local identities promoting product after product. 

To give you an idea of the power and the price some brands are willing to pay to be endorsed, some key influencers have reportedly received six-figure sums for promoting a product just once on their social media platforms.   

Influencer marketing plays on the relationships a public figure has with their followers to help engage new markets and make new connections to people with similar interests and motivations. It works as part of an overarching marketing strategy and allows brands to tap into markets previously thought to be too challenging or out of reach.

It also builds a perceived one-on-one conversation about the product with a person they trust and whose opinion they value, via the social media platform the reader has volunteered to be part of and agreed to be contacted on.

This kind of disruptive marketing provides great opportunities, but there are some critical things to remember if you’re considering using a key influencer as part of your marketing strategy.

Who You Work With

The most important decision is selecting the right person. The person you work with will become the voice and the face people associate with your brand. They should project the type of brand experience the consumer will expect to have if they decide to purchase the product. And remember, it’s not just your image on the line — the key influencer cares about their followers and their own personal brand as well.


To achieve results, any product endorsement must be part of a wider strategic marketing campaign. You should have a marketing strategy in place to measure ROI; this could be click-through rate or the rate at which sales increase over a certain time. The amount of followers a key influencer has does not necessarily reflect the amount they should be paid for their endorsements.


It’s crucial that any content promoted by an influencer is relevant and is ‘in-context’ from the consumer's perspective (for example, the timing and location). By targeting only a few key influencers, you have the power to connect with vast numbers of people all over the world.

So who would be on your radar as a potential influencer? Think carefully.

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
To learn more email or
call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

Gelato Messina – the nightclub of ice-cream


Pumping music, staff dancing behind the counter and the Messina experience we all live for. When it comes to major players disrupting the ‘cool food brand’ category, Gelato Messina hasn’t just flaunted the rules, it’s rewritten them.

Declan Lee, co-founder of the infamous Gelato Messina, recently revealed that the business is based around one value, ‘honesty’. Not only is the superb ice-cream honest – it’s made from scratch, yep all 40 flavours – but the simple value of honesty plays a big role in staff culture, which is reinforced by the Messina customer experience.

Since 2006, the franchise has grown to 17 stores across the east coast and in Vegas, baby. Way back in 2008 it had the opportunity to use social media, before others were doing it with food. This is one example of how being disruptive in the early days helped build the business to where it is today. Gelato Messina had an early opportunity to build communities through social media, and did just that. But what is it about Messina that keeps us wanting more?

How Gelato Messina changed the game

The Messina Experience


It didn’t run with the traditional bright light-based ice-cream store fitout. Instead, Gelato Messina was bold and believed if the lighting was right and the mood was right, the business would attract everyone. The (house) music was inspired by Declan’s DJ background. The owners wanted Messina to feel a bit like a party, not over the top but fun. Basically, an ice-cream nightclub.

Quality Product


Gelato Messina claims to make its ice-cream like no other in the world and goes to great lengths to make its product. It has 40 flavours and everything is made from scratch except two biscuits, which the company says it can't make better. Honesty at its best.



Messina Snapchat takeover. Say what? I guess when your core value is honesty, anything and everything is a possibility. Each store manager takes it in turns to document their weekend outside of work. It also shows off their personalities and is a great way to share with their audience. They are free to post what they want, just don’t be offensive or silly.

Messina doesn’t believe in made-up content. Back to honesty. It’s also employed a photographer and videographer to document the Messina Gelato process to create empathetic storytelling about the brand.

Tim Tams x Messina


Some may say doing slightly odd things like collaborating with a commercial brand such as Tim Tams was a risk, but producing four limited edition biscuit flavours was nothing if not disruptive. Did Messina sell out? Marketing genius if you ask me. Although Messina already had the street cred, the collab definitely helped Messina’s brand awareness and a commercial giant was able to play with the cool cats for once, so a win-win for both.

Uber x Messina


In 2015, Uber partnered with Messina to deliver free ice-cream as an incentive to sign up an Uber account. This was a very clever approach from both brands. Who says ‘no’ to free ice-cream?

Cash or App


In the past, the fastest way to transact in an ice-cream shop was with old fashioned cash. Yes cash money. But as technology is developing at a rapid rate, Gelato Messina has created a super easy smartphone app that allows customers to pay with their phone, earn points and redeem exclusive member deals. 

Messina Creative Department


Garlic and vanilla gelato anyone? This concept is where eight customers are invited to a Sydney or Melbourne store to try a seven course degustation menu. This is how Gelato Messina challenges itself to make sure it’s continuing to push the boundaries on how certain products fit together. This is a true indication of what passion looks like in the cool food industry.

Would Messina be where it is today without its disruptive marketing approach? If you haven’t yet had the Messina Gelato experience, stop what you are doing right now and head down to your nearest store. And let us know what you thought (and which flavour you had).


Imagery sources: http://www.gelatomessina.com/au

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
To learn more email or
call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

No ifs, just putts — a brand experience with a difference

Standing out from the crowd is difficult in such a competitive business landscape. Holy Moley Mini Golf Bar has scored a ‘hole in one’ with its creative Melbourne bar experience.

This isn’t just a regular Melbourne hang-out. It’s a bar showcasing colourful pop culture references through a cleverly designed 27-hole mini golf course. It takes going out to ‘par-tee’ to a ‘hole’ new level (no more puns — well, we’ll try anyway).

The level of detail and thought that has gone into the course is incredible, including the ability to change and rotate holes to keep the experience fresh and add an element of surprise and delight for patrons.

“One hole begins by navigating your ball through a refurbished pinball table,” say the folks at Broadsheet. “From there the ball drops onto a foosball table, and it becomes a two-player game: whoever scores gets a bonus point. Then there’s a Game of Thrones hole, with a throne made from putters.”

It’s all about experience

This experience seems truly engaging, taking the user through a memorable experience and leaving them wanting more. The concept is all about creating a brand experience that evokes a behavioural response. Something this clever creates its own hype, which in turn makes the experience appealing to others and ‘shareable’ through social media and word of mouth.

This memorable experience sets this brand apart from others. And isn’t that the goal – creating something customers love and want to share with their inner circle?

It’s a great example of being disruptive in a saturated market (there’s not many pubs to choose from in Melbourne) and creating something fun and inspiring that sets you apart from everyone else.


You know where we’ll be ‘teeing up’ (sorry, couldn’t resist one more) Friday night work drinks from now on.


Image and content sources: BroadsheetHoley Moley.

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
To learn more email or
call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

Thumbs up or thumbs down to emojis?

At 84 per cent, Australia has one of the highest rates of smartphone ownership and, in recent years, we've seen the rapid increase in popularity of the beloved emoji.

Once a cute but unnecessary extra in teenage conversation, emojis are now a given in most online brand communications. Although still mostly used to engage Millennials, and sometimes met with an apathetic eye roll, they are a new visual language in which we all speak at times. What makes them so risky is that unlike traditional communication, there are no rules. Let’s take a look at a brand that nailed the integration of emojis into its campaign — and one that possibly didn’t.

Domino's Pizza Tweet and Emoji Ordering

What is it?

In 2015, Domino’s Pizza, with the help of its agency CPB Group, developed disruptive technology allowing customers to place an order through Twitter. Frequent customers needed to only use a single pizza emoji. They extended this to a texting service and on the first day more than 500 people signed up to order using the emoji.

Why does it work?

Simplicity and innovation is key on this one. Domino’s took a risk by potentially isolating a segment of its audience who didn’t have a smartphone or Twitter account. However, in doing so, Domino’s allowed for an exclusive interaction between the company and its most loyal customers. Emo-genius.

Chevrolet Cruze Press Release


What is it?

How far did you get decoding that one? We’ll let Chevrolet explain: “Words alone can’t describe the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, so to celebrate its upcoming reveal, the media advisory is being issued in emoji, the small emotionally expressive digital images and icons in electronic communication.” The press release was distributed a day later in plain English for those of us unwilling to decode the original, along with the hashtag #ChevyGoesEmoji.

Why doesn’t it work?

The giveaway is that if you have to explain what an emoji is, there’s a good chance your audience won’t be decoding an emoji-laden press release, much less hashtagging about it. Cue that Millennial eye roll.


In saying this, Chevrolet’s marketing team may have used this as a strategy to entice the press and create a bit of controversy around the new car, which it certainly did. I’m still not sure whether the event was seen as novel or just a bit ‘try hard’.

Emojis are clearly more than a fleeting trend and whether we love, hate, or fear them, they’re here to stay. Marketers and brands may be fumbling their way through new territory for now (we’re looking at you ESPN) but soon enough emojis will be so integrated, we won’t be able to imagine a world without them.


Imagery: https://hips.hearstapps.com/hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/images/emoji-movie-still-sony-1476125868.jpg

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
To learn more email or
call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

Are you sitting on a marketing gold mine?

Databases are marketing gold. That’s if they are collected, maintained and utilised properly.

Database marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses databases of customers or clients – existing, potential or lapsed – to generate targeted lists for direct marketing communications. Database marketing is key to any successful marketing strategy so here’s some helpful tips.

Organise/categorise your database

Use your database wisely. It is essential to sort your contacts into segments so that different people can be targeted with different messaging. Having the right information about your clients, communicating the right message at the right time – when they are ready to make a decision – is vital to the success of your marketing.

Keep in touch

You invest time and money in networking, good customer service, advertising and website development to get prospective customers to your door. Don’t let that effort go to waste. Establishing a communication stream to keep your company and brand top of mind, until they are ready to make a buying decision or referral, is key.

Don’t forget existing customers

Existing customers are a great source of repeat business and referrals. Keep track of these customers and be sure to reach out from time to time to show your appreciation for their business.

So what are you waiting for? Join the gold rush and add database marketing to your strategic marketing plan.

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
To learn more email or
call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

It takes courage to become a disruptive brand


Disruptive brands feel different for a reason. They break rules, they demand attention and, sometimes, change the way we live our lives. Here are three characteristics of some of the most successful disruptive brands.

Disruptive brands are risk takers

Disruptive brands are brave enough to be different and, in many ways, that’s why we love them. While there’s a very real risk of getting things wrong, when a disruptive brand is marketed successfully it can have extraordinary results.

One example is Scottish beer brewery BrewDog, the self-described “post-punk, apocalyptic, motherfucker of a craft brewery” that is breaking conventional rules and performing audacious marketing stunts along the way. Starting with a bank loan of just £30,000, BrewDog is entering the US market with a valuation of US$350m – and a story well worth the read.



Disruptive brands are good for customers and competition

Most industries are dominated by a few bigger brands and beneath them are tiers of increasingly smaller (but more numerous) competitors. The hierarchy is established over years and most changes occur when existing companies merge or acquire competitors.

Disruptive brands blow this balance out of the water. They upset the order of things and force long-established brands to adapt or die. The famous example is of course Uber, which challenged the taxi industry and completely disrupted what was long considered ‘normal’. Its technology, business model, UX and customer service broke the mould (and were scalable). Uber has forced the taxi industry to try to improve its competitiveness with better technology and an improved level of customer experience. While it seems unlikely to succeed, the traditional players have been forced to try. Disruption can be a powerful catalyst for change in any industry.

Disruptive brands have to work hard to stay on top

Successfully disrupting an industry can lead to huge success, but with that success comes an increase in logistics, administration and bureaucracy. More customers means more staff, more investment, bigger offices, increased procurement needs and more complicated reporting for shareholders.

Together, these responsibilities act as a natural dampener on innovation. Shareholders don’t like risk, and how can you disrupt a market when you’ve become the dominant player?

Yahoo was once the king of the internet and grew to become a US$140b Goliath in just five years. However a combination of factors, such the dot com crash, lack of innovation and poor internal decision making, meant Yahoo regressed. This opened the door for a superior disruptor – Google – to deliver a better solution, steal market share and, ultimately, dominate the world of search.

Improvement is inevitable in every industry sector. There will always be a company that finds a faster, more attractive, more efficient way of delivering an experience or outcome. The question is whether your brand is a disruptor or whether it’s sitting, waiting to be disrupted.


Header image source: http://littlegreatideas.com/photo/smashing/large-7.html

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
To learn more email or
call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

Look who’s moved in next door

Ghostbusters got it right: “Who you gonna call…?” The power of relevance and recognition in the immediacy of the moment between the brain and the hand on the phone is why people should already know your brand’s name.

Brands that achieve the ultimate goal of people referring to their product by name rather than the generic term, such as Esky, Coke and Hoover, have spent decades and millions to weave their brand into the fabric of culture. The power these brands have is almost an unfathomable mountain for the brand that has its hand up in a crowd of thousands.

These days, companies know they must be memorable, dependable, have a great customer experience and be easily recognisable across the plethora of channels they need to be present in. But is that enough? Is it enough to just be good, or even great? No, not when a disruptive brand enters the ring or sets up camp next door, on the previously unoccupied vacant block that no one knew what to do with.

So what’s it take to get noticed in this noisy environment of brands? For a company to stand out and scale to being a large player, they have no choice but to be disruptive. Not just in the way they do things, such as Uber and Purple Bricks, but in the way they present themselves to the market. Disruptive marketing is destined to be the next over-used marketing term, like ‘guerilla marketing’ back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but that just confirms it’s a recognised fact that it works. To be a serious player, the status quo needs to be challenged. ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it though?’ will never be muttered by a winner.

Disruptive brands make something better, simpler and different. That poses a particular set of challenges for a creative agency. They have to communicate a message that aligns to the brand but also changes behaviour. In 2003, a Melbourne-based entrepreneur devised a better way to do business-to-business payments in the travel industry. It revolutionised the industry, but that education piece of doing things differently and better didn’t happen overnight. Their marketing constantly strives to simplify their message to reflect the simplicity and benefits of their virtual card payments system. Today that company, eNett, processes tens of billions of dollars in payment flows. Uber had to bring people around to a new way of thinking and, at the same time, gain their trust to pre-enter their credit card details into their app. Because they achieved simple and direct messaging, word of mouth did Uber’s marketing for them. From nothing to US$60b in seven years.

The innovation behind disruptive brands is thought leadership material and contains endless numbers and coding, but the marketing they require is the direct opposite. It has to be human to be relatable, simple to make changing behaviour accessible, cool so it will be popular, and have the clearest of BVPs to guide every output.

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
To learn more email or
call us on +61 3 9245 9245.

Disruptive brands: a bloody good idea, and the guts to believe

Let’s cut to the chase. If you want to stand out from competitors, do things differently. Disruptive brands are different because they get people engaged and immersed in their brand’s equity.

Apple, Amazon and Uber’s success isn’t about finding new markets. It’s entering established markets and disrupting (and improving) the way things are done through innovative technology and thinking. Turning their competitors upside down in the process.

“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be done,” is how Richard Branson puts it. “Disrupting goes way beyond advertising; it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there.”


Into the fire

Last week, I saw Notel Founder James Fry demonstrate his new start-up. It was inspiring to witness how he disrupted the accommodation sector by importing six retro Airstream trailers from the U.S., had them lifted by crane on to an unused Melbourne laneway rooftop, and fitted them out as five-star accommodation.

His guiding objective was simple: do the opposite of what traditional hotels do and offer an experience along the way. He did away with the expensive minibar, for example; supplied a 12.9” iPad instead of a television, minus the expensive movie selection, with Netflix ready to go; and created a smartphone app that allows access to your five-star caravan.

James asked an old friend, Jake Smallman (Studio Self-titled) to develop a clever identity and way finding system and enlisted the infamous Ash Keating to spray-paint a mesmerising feature wall. As if this disruptive idea wasn’t clever enough, the ingenious part was James relied only on Instagram and PR to spread the word. He didn’t use any advertising.

So has it worked? Well, weekend accommodation is booked out for the next six months. Would this brilliant idea work outside Melbourne? Let us know your thoughts on this disruptive brand and get in touch if you need help differentiating and marketing your brand.

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
To learn more email or
call us on +61 3 9245 9245.